College Football Expert Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 10 Favorite Week 10 Bets
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports: Pictured: Iowa tight end Noah Fanta
- Our college football experts give their 10 favorite betting picks for Week 10 of the 2018 season.
- You'll find totals, favorites and moneyline dogs to back.
It’s the first week of November and you can feel college football in the crisp, fall air. Just days after the first College Football Playoff rankings release, Week 10 might end up being the most meaningful and entertaining of the 2018 college football season.
Week 10 features four top 15 matchups, including a prime-time showdown in Baton Rouge between LSU and Alabama. The Crimson Tide are a historic 14.5 point favorite, which marks the first time a top-10 team has been a double-digit home underdog in at least the past 20 seasons.
It’s not like bettors need more of a reason to get excited for a November college football Saturday slate, but the added drama certainly doesn’t hurt. To help narrow down your final bets, we asked a group of our staffers for their one favorite Saturday pick.
Regardless of your betting style, you should find something that catches your eye — or at least helps you make more informed betting decisions for Week 10 — in the picks below.
We will get things started with three noon ET kicks and then hit a few other games throughout the rest of the afternoon and night. And as always, don’t forget about the quick grabs at the end, where you will find a few underdog moneyline shots.
We hope you at least pick up one key nugget of information that can help you make a more informed wagering decision. I think you’ll find plenty. Let’s jump in.
In case you’re curious, our staff’s favorite college football bets are 58-51-1 (53.2%) +7.9 units on the season
Steve Petrella: South Carolina-Ole Miss Under 68.5
Noon ET on SECN
The Ole Miss offense has typically struggled against quality defenses. Every team does, but the Rebels’ gaps are glaring. That vaunted passing attack has averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt against Alabama, LSU and Auburn this season, and 12.4 against everyone else. And outside of those three, it hasn’t faced a top 80 defense. South Carolina’s defense ranks top 25 in passing S&P+ and 54th overall.
Plus, it has the perfect profile to keep this game under. The Gamecocks rank 15th in limiting explosiveness but 109th in efficiency. They’ll give Ole Miss everything underneath, but won’t get beat deep. South Carolina does the inverse on offense — efficient, but not explosive.
The Rebels will score, but there won’t be enough possessions for it to hit almost 70 points. South Carolina averages the third-fewest drives per game in the nation, and its opponents average the 15th-fewest because of how it consciously avoids big plays on both sides of the ball.
Sean Newsham: Syracuse-Wake Forest Over 75
Noon ET on CHSS
This could end up being one of the highest scoring games of the season, especially if last year is any indication. In 2017, these two teams met in Syracuse and totaled 107 points and combined for just under 1350 yards — two off-the-charts numbers.
Both teams have poor defenses that rank below 80th in the S&P+ rankings, but that’s not the main reason why I think this game will sail over with ease. It’s all about pace.
Last season, Syracuse was the fastest team in college football, averaging 87.8 plays per game. This year, we have seen Wake Forest jump to the top with an average of 89.7 plays per game and Syracuse isn’t far behind at 83.4. Both teams play with a lightning fast tempo and both have poor defenses.
This game should once again become a fantastic offensive spectacle, potentially leading to triple digits in total points for the second straight year.
Collin Wilson: Maryland +2.5 (vs. Michigan State)
Noon ET on ESPN2
I did become a little hesitant after all of the early week drama surrounding the program, but I think it will end up working as a rallying point after seeing how it played out.
Wagering on Maryland came down to a few stats, mainly the Terrapins rush explosiveness ranking third against a Michigan State defense that ranks 101st in defending it. On the flip side of the ball, the Spartans should have plenty of offensive issues thanks to an injured offensive line.
In Week 9, the Michigan State offensive line played without its starting center, guards and lost right tackle Jordan Reid late in the game to a right leg injury. Backup right guard Luke Campbell also left the game with an injury but did return.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke is still questionable for the game, but no matter who the Spartans put under center, it may be a struggle against the Terrapins. Maryland ranks 26th in defensive pass efficiency and seventh defensive pass completion percentage.
Expect Maryland to play an inspired and emotional game.
PJ Walsh: Iowa +2.5 (at Purdue)
3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Not only do most major ratings systems (The Action Network’s power ratings, S&P+, etc.) rank Iowa as the better team overall, but Purdue has one of the worst home-field advantages in the FBS.
According to Bet Labs, only Tennessee and Eastern Michigan have lost bettors more units at home than Purdue since 2005. The Boilermakers are 36-54-1 against the spread for -19.55 units at Ross-Ade Stadium over that span.
Ken Barkley: Virginia Tech +2 (vs. Boston College)
3:45 p.m. ET on CHSS
What a difference a game makes. You are getting two teams whose opinion in the market could not possibly be stretched further from their realistic averages.
Boston College had a big win at home over Miami, covering by a wide margin. Meanwhile, on national TV last week, Virginia Tech got smashed by a Georgia Tech team playing its backup quarterback. Neither of those results are predictive, yet the line is being set like those results truly matter.
Virginia Tech has simply struggled in recent years against the Jackets’ option offense. The Hokies lost to GT each of the past two years and struggled to beat an abysmal Georgia Tech team the year before THAT. It’s just a bad matchup.
Virginia Tech has better coaching and special teams in this game for sure, and the offensive and defensive units match up pretty evenly. This line implies that BC is five points better on a neutral field (before factoring in a solid VT home-field advantage in Lane Stadium) — which I vehemently disagree with.
BC also has jarringly different home vs. road splits. Just take a look at the results of the Eagles’ three road games this season:
- Pulled out a close win at Wake (which never fills the stadium) in a game moved up to a weekday afternoon due to weather.
- Lost at N.C. State in a game they trailed 28-3 in the second half.
- Blown out 30-13 loss at Purdue.
I think there is clear value on the Hokies.
Stuckey: Missouri +6 (at Florida)
4 p.m. ET on SECN
This is a really good matchup for Missouri, which is much better than its 4-4 record indicates. The Tigers have had one of the toughest schedules in FBS. And of their four losses, they could have (and arguably should have) won two against South Carolina and Kentucky. Those two SEC losses came by a combined three points.
Speaking of Kentucky, I think Missouri can follow the script the Wildcats used when they pulled out a win in Gainesville: take away the run and turn quarterback Feleipe Franks into a passer. Missouri can certainly do the former, as it has an absolutely dominant run defense that S&P+ ranks third overall nationally.
If you take away the Gators’ running game, they become very inefficient on offense. Florida ranks 85th in the country with a subpar 58.4% completion percentage. Florida does rank second nationally in Adjusted Sack Rate on Passing Downs, which means Franks will have all day to throw against a Missouri team that ranks 129th in the same category.
However, I don’t think Franks is a consistent enough passer to shred a Missouri secondary that has played better since naming two new starters in Christian Holmes and safety Tyree Gillespie.
On the other side of the ball, Florida can get after the quarterback as well as any team in the country (11th in Adjusted Sack Rate), but Missouri actually protects Drew Lock well, ranking 18th in that same category.
I also think Florida may come out very flat just one week after getting eliminated from SEC East contention, while Missouri has continued to bounce back after tough losses and should still have motivation to get bowl eligible.
John Ewing: Notre Dame -9.5 (at Northwestern)
7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
The Irish have the biggest matchup advantage in this game with their sixth ranked S&P+ defense against Northwestern’s 105th ranked offense that averages a pitiful 2.58 yards per carry.
The Wildcats will be forced to throw the ball, which likely won’t lead to much success against an ND defense allowing 5.5 yards per pass (sixth-best in FBS).
Additionally, The Action Network Power Ratings make the Irish 14-point favorites and S&P+ has the Golden Domers winning by 13.2 points.
Danny Donahue: Miami -9.5 (vs. Duke)
7 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Right after Miami lost at BC last week, I immediately glanced ahead to both teams’ next matchups, looking to fade the inevitable overreactions. I couldn’t agree more with Ken’s take on Virginia Tech, and I think you can apply the same line of thinking to Miami.
Last week’s loss got even more attention than normal since it took place on Friday night, and the public was rewarded for staying away from a basically unproven 2018 Miami team. With that still fresh in their minds, casual bettors won’t dare to lay more than a touchdown with the Canes, which provides an opportunity to take advantage of a potentially soft number.
Of course, it was softer at the opening line of -8, but this still hasn’t crossed any key numbers. I like Miami up to -10.
Peter Jennings: Louisiana Lafayette Moneyline +360
Jason Sobel: California +300 (0.5), Arizona State +230 (0.5)